Roundup New builds, a prolonged farewell to old friends and a new toy (for the boss, at least). That's right, it's the past week at Microsoft brought to you in bite-sized chunks by El Reg.
The October 2018 Update nightmare is coming to an end
There was an audible sigh of relief from within the bowels of Redmond last week as, according to the Windows 10 issues log, users of the Update of the Damned will begin seeing the November 2019 Update (aka 1909) put in an appearance over the next few months.
Support for 1809 (Long-Term Servicing Channel version aside) comes to an end next year, with Home, Pro, Pro Education and Pro for Workstations editions getting the axe on 12 May 2020. Enterprise and Education editions will keep on receiving support until 11 May 2021.
After the relative success of the 1903 and 1909 phased releases (although the latter was little more than a jumped-up service pack) Microsoft announced that, once more, "we will slowly start the phased process to automatically initiate a feature update".
While the November 2019 Update has been available to most users who enthusiastically click that "Check for Updates" button, last week's announcement saw the beginning of the carefully stretched out process to auto-update compatible machines ahead of that end of support date.
Will the last Windows Phone user please turn off the Office lights?
With less than 24 hours to go until Microsoft finally pulls the shutters on its ill-fated foray into smartphones, the Windows giant has warned that those still sticking with the platform will lose Office support as well.
However, the brave few have until 12 January 2021 before it will no longer be possible to install the apps, technical support vanishes and security updates are shut off.
The apps affected are Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Naturally iOS and Android versions will continue to receive support (and we'd be surprised if a lot more love was not lavished on the latter, with the arrival of the dual-screen Surface Duo next year).
Those clinging to Microsoft's aborted mobile attempt will be relieved to learn that the apps will not magically uninstall themselves. However, the company "strongly recommends" a move elsewhere in order to keep those updates flowing.
Another week, another tortured Windows 10 build cadence metaphor
The Windows Insider team continued to spew out fresh builds of next year's Windows 10 like a candy-filled toddler on a waltzer with build 19037.1 released at the end of last week.
Both the Slow and Fast rings remain in sync for now, although the window to jump from Fast to Slow is narrowing.
Other than the Windows PowerShell Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE) now an installed-by-default Feature on Demand, there was little new to see. The faithful will, however, note that the build watermark has gone, although Senior PM Brandon LeBlanc repeated that the gang wasn't yet done.
Handy, because the issues list is proving somewhat sticky, with anti-cheat code still a problem, the update process either hanging or reporting a
0xc1900101 error and certain USB 3.0 devices borked by the new version.
It does, however, seem likely that the code will be finalised this month or next, ahead of General Availability in the early part of 2020.
Writing drivers for Windows 7? You have our sympathy, and three more years
The end is nigh for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, with extended support coming to a screeching halt on 14 January 2020. However, with various paid options potentially keeping the lights on for another three years, Microsoft has reassured those unfortunates tasked with producing drivers for the legacy OSes that their toils can go on through January 2023.
Driver submissions for the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program (WHCP) will continue to be available and those making the things may continue testing with the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (HCK) or Windows Logo Kit for Windows Server 2008.
Buh-bye login.microsoftonline.com (for AAD B2C)
Microsoft issued a warning last week for apps using the Azure Active Directory Business to Customer (AAD B2C) service. The good old login.microsoftonline.com URL is being deprecated in favour of b2clogin.com.
A change of URL is needed in apps and APIs before support is pulled on 4 December 2020. AAD tenants are not affected, just the AAD B2C crowd.
To sweeten the pill, Microsoft trumpeted the benefits of the change: reduced space being consumed in the cookie header, redirect URLs don't have to include a reference to Microsoft, and at some point you'll be able to shove in some client-side code (allowed in preview for b2clogin.com, but blocked in custom pages for login.microsoftonline.com).
New B2C tenants created after last week's announcements are not able to accept requests from login.microsoftonline.com. For existing ones, the clock is ticking.
Xbox supremo takes his new baby home
Xbox supremo Phil Spencer has taken Microsoft's next-generation games console home with him.
Project Scarlett represents Microsoft's 2020 attempt to crack the console market, having been soundly spanked by Sony's PlayStation 4 (playground Spectrum versus Commodore-style arguments aside).
Microsoft gaming fans have an exciting year ahead, with the powerful Scarlett turning up and the xCloud game streaming service becoming generally available. Rumours also abound of a lower-specced unit turning up and, of course, the previous generation will likely remain on sale.
Spencer optimistically described 2020 as "an incredible year". We'd caution that, like the original, catastrophic, Xbox One launch, it might turn out to all be a bit too confusing for buyers. ®